When you live in Nashville you are sure to meet talented songwriters, artists, and musicians. I even met an amazing singer-songwriter while I was in the Children’s Hospital. One day, my mom and I met this man in the family waiting room on the 6th floor. Occasionally during my hospital stay, I was allowed out of my room briefly (and I mean briefly) to visit other areas of the 6th floor. I wasn’t allowed to visit other floors in the hospital, go outside, or go anywhere else for that matter. So, I would just enjoy my mini adventures of going down the hallway or another 6th floor place other than my room. It just so happened that on this day when we went to the family waiting area, there was a man singing and playing his guitar in the corner of the waiting room. He certainly was a skilled picker with his acoustic guitar. He was singing a song that appeared to be lyrics he was currently writing. It was beautiful to hear music this day. It warmed my heart. The sun seemed to be extra bright as it seeped through the windows and warmed my face. My mom and I didn’t want to interrupt him, so we just sat quietly and listened to the music. He was caught up in the song he was writing. Such a treat to watch. We just sat and felt the rhythm of his harmony. His music was country and a little blues. I noticed there was a little sadness in his music. This was the first time I ever understood what emotions go into blues music and melodies. He noticed me and stopped singing. Then he starred at me, smiled at me, and played a beautiful song. It was a sweet, warm song dedicated to little me. That was so special. I always remember that day. My heart felt touched.
Come to find out, the picker had a son that was in the hospital. His son happened to be the very sweet boy I met the day before. He likes to play video games… a lot. In fact, his room was right next to mine. I guess I never noticed who his dad was because of the strict rules on how many people can visit inside the hospital room at one time. There were some interesting coincidences between us kiddos. The picker’s son was diagnosed the exact same week I was diagnosed. In fact, his son was the same age as me (11 years old) and in the same grade at school as me. Both of us just entered 5th grade. Both of us fighting cancer. Both of us facing harsh treatments. Both of us young and joyful.
Time kept moving forward and I would see the picker’s son often. We both had lost our hair and we were sporting our beautiful bald heads. We were both looking a lot thinner and had a pasty, pale skin tone. Everywhere we would go our attached I.V. and pole was right behind us following like a shadow. My cancer treatment kept me in the hospital often. I was at my second home (aka the hospital) every time I had surgeries, procedures and chemotherapies. But I also got to go home from time to time in between treatments. At home, I would sleep in my own bed. At home, I got to play with my dogs. At home, I sat on my couch. Home sweet home! It is so SWEET. What I didn’t realize was that my new friend, the picker’s son, had to stay in the hospital the entire time. The reason he couldn’t leave the hospital was because he would have bad reactions with his treatment, or his heart would freak out, or his blast counts would dramatically go down. It seemed like nothing was working for him in his battle. He ended up being switched to an even more intense chemo. I remember thinking “how much more intense can treatments get?”
Many holidays had passed and he was still there. Many of us cancer fighting superheroes celebrate a lot of holidays in the hospital. We get used to it. However, this time, we both got to go home a day or two before Christmas. Woohoo! I was so excited. But for my friend and his family, it was bittersweet. My friend was released from the hospital. He won’t be coming back. His Leukemia was winning. He was not. There was nothing more that could be done for him. My friend, the picker’s son, lived at home for the next few months. At home, he could sleep in his own bed. At home, he got to play with his own dogs. At home, he sat on his own couch. At home, he played his own video games. At home, he spent time with his amazing family. At home, he was so loved. At home, he loved them right back. Home Sweet Home.
He passed away in May of 2014.
To my Heavenly Warriors:
Lexi, Alissa, Cody, Kobe, Gage, Maddie, Karl, Max, Alex, Chase, Lucas, Whit, Noah, Tay
But those who trust in the lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31